Whether it’s an innovative start-up or star performer, you can now nominate your favourite co-operative to the prestigious annual Co-operative of the Year awards.
The nominations and votes are entirely open, with the people who are running, working in and using the country’s co-operatives nominating and deciding on their favourites. Over the last two years of Co-operative of the Year awards, 110 co-ops have been nominated and 37,000 votes cast.
Nominations for the awards are open until 30 April, and are for three award categories:
The leading co-operative of the year award is for co-ops with a turnover above £30 million. Featuring high-performing retail, farming and housing co-ops among others, this will be a hotly contested category. It was won last year by Central England Co-operative.
The growing co-operative of the year award is for co-ops with a turnover between £1m and £30 million, and includes co-ops from leisure trusts and sports clubs to successful worker-owned businesses. It was won last year by the Phone Co-op.
The inspiring co-operative of the year award is for co-ops with a turnover of up to £1 million, covering everything from start-ups and community shops, to freelancer co-ops and care providers. It was won last year by Riverside Housing Co-operative, part of Redditch Co-operative Homes.
The winner of each category will receive publicity and the option of £1,000 of business support, as well as the kudos of being voted one of the three best of co-ops in the country.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "Co-ops right across the UK are making a difference to people’s lives every day – whether it’s allowing them to take control of their livelihoods, get ownership of their local areas, have a voice in the decisions made by big decisions or to create affordable housing together.
“Our annual awards are a chance to celebrate what co-ops are doing and, most importantly, for the people who know them best – their staff, their members, their customers – to decide which is most worthy of the Co-operative of the Year crown.”
Nominations are open until 30 April. Once a shortlist has been drawn up, the winner in each category will be decided by an open online vote, and the winner announced at the co-operative sector’s annual conference, Congress, on 30 June.